Tuesday, March 31, 2015

peace, like a river

(taken by moi)
I'm feeling incredibly quiet right now. & it's not in the "absence of noise" sort of way. It would be best described as peace, I would think.

Peace so beautiful, I could cry.

I might cry.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry.

I have a head cold, but I was able to get an amazing chunk of sleep last night, so I'm feeling more like myself.

I'm thinking about things, studying things, & preparing for things that would stress nigh anyone out. They would especially stress out the Lydia I know.

But I don't feel anxious, worried, or stressed.

This feeling of calmness as I recognize that everything has been placed in Jesus' hands, & I am completely satisfied in knowing that. I am safe.

I have soft music playing ... oh, how I love my soft music.

The words brim & spill through my fingertips, & it isn't a panicked rush ... it feels more like the rhythm of a symphony.

The makeup & facades are off, & I find myself unconcerned with what people think.

Everything is changing. This day is a precipice on which I stand, & the view ahead is one of the next season in our lives, a new beginning. Much rides upon today, & my heart is involved, for sure. But I am not agonizing over what will happen, for once. It doesn't depend on me, at all. So I do what's in front of me & I wait, & I trust. Because I know Whose hand this day rests in.

& I choose to rest in Him, too. No matter what happens.

Because, if we're honest here, the truth is, He knows what will happen.

How comforting is that?

He administers peace to my soul, & as I wait on Him, soaking in the sheer wonder of Him, I know: where He goes, that's where I want to go. Wherever He leads. In His timing. He is worthy of my trust, & I will follow. Surely, this work-in-progress shall fall. But I know that no matter how hard, far, & often I do so, His hand never lets go of my heart, & He never gives up on my future; His plan for me. He never gives up, no matter how I fail ... So why should I have cause to give up, even for a second, on the One who fails not?

He is worthy of my utter allegiance, & so I commit my soul to Him. I commit my today to Him, my future, & every moment in the between time. He holds me. & I rest.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Unexpected

I wasn't planning on writing today.

Writing takes effort, & to make something beautiful, you must find something beautiful. & it takes effort to find something beautiful in the midst of a heap of mud.

Maybe not my best choice of words.

I am not in a mud pile.

It would be better described as a valley.

A low, dark place between mountains.

These aren't the places one likes to write about. I stubbornly don't want to admit that there is good in this. I'm too lazy. I feel too defeated to discuss that thing called hope.

My prayer journal pages are filled with question marks.

A valley between mountains.

I've already come so far.

I remember the pain & the sweat of every step of the last mountain. The sweat wasn't from succeeding in & of myself, no. It was from striving to. Fighting the gentle leading of my Lord. The pain was found in the suffering & refining that transformed me.

I stubbornly want to be done transforming. To not have to deal with this pain any more.

But I know better.

I know I cannot become Christ-like if I do not suffer & die to myself for His sake.

I also know better than to think that battles come one at a time, in easy-to-manage doses. How I wish this was manageable.

But, lo & behold, my pride.

If I could do this on my own, I would.

I know myself too well.

I dare not try to paint myself in flattering hues here, because I know the reality, & there's no use pretending I've made it. That I'm perfect. That I don't battle my flesh daily, & countless times a day, I lose that battle & I fail.

& my response to failure is defeat. Depression. Passivity. Isolation.

If you think the devil preys upon that, you're right.

So many lies from him are floating around in my head these days. & I'm sick of them.

I'm sick of the panic that comes whenever a pain that hints vaguely of Lyme touches my body. I'm tired of doubting my Healer for those instants before I stand back up.

I hate when it takes longer than that.

I'm sick of trying to learn new things that I should have known by now & feeling downright illiterate as I fail again & again. Yes. Illiterate. There is this shame & humiliation that creeps over me as I struggle with the simplest things & I feel alone in the wrestling.

I listen to fancy instrumental music, as if it will turn this darkness into poetry.

New health problems inhabit me, & I'm terrified.

Back at the beginning with that uncertain word plaguing my mind: undiagnosed.

I thought I had already climbed this mountain. I never wanted to do so again.

But perfect health is the promise of heaven ... & in this world, we will have trouble.

Why do I always act as though this world is my home? I get sucked in so easily. To the must-do's, the must-haves, the must-be's, the must-buy's.

I give into the performance anxiety that is the lifeblood of this society.

I forget that I am a warrior & that I was born to fight the beautiful fight.

The fight feels less beautiful when my tasks are mindless chores. When my biggest battles seem futile & embarrassing. When I am uncertain about the future in some ways. When I am sure about some things, but few others seem to be.

When my team seems not to have showed up for game day. When my cheer squad is one very enthusiastic person, one that yells: "pull it together!", & one sitting bored on the sidelines, giving a half-hearted "yay," every few hours.

I thought this was a race.

One where we all run alongside each other, encouraging one another to press on towards the goal.

I feel so small.

My allergies add insult to injury.

I'm exhausted from the effort of it all.

I hate that I keep on forgetting where to turn to in this mess until I'm already so far gone.

I let apathy control me. Looked to humans desperately, & mourned when the phone didn't vibrate, or when their words rung of truth, but did not help my aching soul in the least. There comes a point where truth registers, but it does not invade.

When did I close myself to it?

& how do I open myself back up?

I look at my gaping wounds, & I wonder if that makes me broken open enough.

Is there enough of an opening, Jesus, for You to invade? Even now? Even through these bloody doors of my tattered soul?

I long for an awakening. A revival within me. Let life stir again in my heart. Awake, my soul, & sing.

The grief & pain that surround me & flood me are overwhelming.

I yearn to see the good in this. The light.

I'm tired of giving up.

Of slamming books & laptops shut.

Of crying when the lights go out.

Of having to sit down, lay down, when my body fails me & the day is too much to take.

Tired of feeling like the case against me ever making it is growing stronger.

Where is the stream in this valley? I long for some refreshment. I want a voice to say that I'm not alone, & I want the actions attached to that voice to prove it. I want to know what this battle is for. I want to know that it's worth it. I want to know that I'm not mistaken. I had once been so sure.

I was so sure.

I stepped out of the boat to walk towards my Savior.

For a bit there, I forgot all else but Him.

I didn't think about what those in the boat would think of me.

I only wanted to be where He was.

I didn't recall the fact that I couldn't swim.

An irrelevant fact when I fully intended to walk upon the waves.

I intended.

My feet slipped as soon as I began to put my faith in myself, & not in my Savior.

I fall.

On my own, I always do.

Oh, but my Jesus. He lifts me. It seems wrong that He should even see me in this state, but He goes further. He cradles me. My wounds collide with His heart. He takes my burdens upon Himself & He tenderly lifts my head.

The intimate love of my Father leaves me undone.

"God is not disillusioned with us. He never had any illusions to begin with." -- Luis Palau

It's not as though my failings & flaws come as a surprise to Him. He chose me, even in this sorry state. He doesn't leave me as I am, though. Thank God. He makes me new.

& somehow, He worked it all into His plan.

Somehow where I was broken, & how I was healed, collide together to make me who I am. The mistakes I've made & have yet to make all play a part in this daily self-death ... somehow making me more like Him. & it doesn't make sense, & in myself, I want Him to give up on me. I feel like a lost cause.

But He kneels next to me in my valley. Beckons me to look at where I've come from, where I've been ... how He's already changed me. He reminds me that He is making me new. That in the shadow of the valley, He is with me, & goes before me. & nothing takes Him by surprise. These mountains set before me; those I can see, & those as yet hidden from me, are mountains I must climb to become who He wants me to be. But never alone. No. Never alone.

I am reminded that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

This is the journey He has for me. & each step brings me closer to who He wants me to become. Even the painful ones.

Maybe especially the painful ones.

Because His love & light do break through my wounds ... He invades me, & by the grace of God, shines through me.

So I journey on.

Monday, March 16, 2015

lamenting, revealed to.

I feel frozen at times. 

Torn between revelation & lamentation.
The darkness of one becomes so much more painful in contrast to the brightness of the other.

& yet, the light is revealed as all the more glorious through the perspective of the black that surrounds it. 

Surrounded, but not overcome. 

Spring Song

This time of the year is one of my favorites. I love the feeling of a fresh start ... the damp ground, the hazy skies. Autumn is the season I love best, but there is something about spring that just embraces me like an old friend (despite the choke-hold of seasonal allergies). I slip on my running shoes & step out the door, feeling a kinship to the birds singing, the earth gently giving beneath my feet, the sky that almost un-magnificent shade of grey-white. I appreciate that color more than most, with my sensitive eyes. It's one of the few daytime skies I can openly gaze at unscathed. It reminds me of blank canvasses, & rainstorms that bring life to dirt.

I'm reminded of Someone who makes life out of dust.

How I am dust.

I am the dry ground in need of refreshing streams of water to pour down from heaven.

I need the lush green in my life to break forth.

I ponder on how the birds do not wait for a prettier day to break into song. Spring is here, & they must welcome it. They must.

I join them in the reckoning. Because how can I stay silent? The kingdom of God is shining forth in this world, & His glory is so beautiful. His grace, so overwhelming. I cannot keep from song.

"I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
His eye is on the sparrow,
& I know He watches me."

So bring the storm clouds & the rain. Bring the toil, bring the mud. Let the night come - I will not back down. I will not pretend that my worship is anything less than a warring protest against the power of darkness in this world. I will fight. I will sing.

Because I know Him.

& how else could I respond?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

small thoughts of larger relevance

I love how in the Kingdom, things can become redefined.

I listen to a song about fear.

I realize it is an anthem.

Where else can we find such a hope? Such life?

One of the darkest vises this world can threaten us with ... one of my greatest battles ... now transformed into a joyful cry:

We are no longer slaves to it.

Fear doesn't have to control us anymore.

What we see is not the only reality.

The darkness has tried to trick us into believing it is unquenchable, but we know better.

We have seen the light.

We have felt His love.

& the darkness has not overcome it.

He is more powerful than the dark.

His love closer than our fear.

{1 John 4:18. John 1:5, Closer by Tenth Avenue North}